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College of Arts and Letters

Program Description

Courses in Chinese encompass the study of Chinese language, literature, media, and culture. The primary emphasis is on Modern Standard Mandarin Chinese. Elementary Chinese courses (CHIN 1A through CHIN 1B) focus on reading, writing, and spoken Mandarin, based on Traditional Chinese characters. Upon completion of CHIN 2B, students will be able to converse at an elementary to intermediate level and to read and write Traditional and Simplified Chinese texts. The upper division courses form the nucleus for a minor and provide a foundation for advanced studies at other universities or graduate school. Upper division lecture courses taught in English are designed to help students appreciate the richness of Chinese culture, language, and literature in the tradition of general education.

An understanding of China, combined with proficiency in the Chinese language, will, in addition to the obvious academic and intellectual gains, make graduates more versatile and sought after in international business, education, social work, law enforcement, government, and Foreign Service positions.

Through language instruction, students will acquire the basic tools to communicate with the growing population of Chinese-speaking immigrants in California, to undertake travels in China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and other Southeast Asian countries where Chinese are a major ethnic group, and to pursue further studies in Chinese history, culture, and society.

Students interested in further advanced study in Chinese may design a Special Major in Chinese by consulting program faculty and spending one year undergoing intensive language study at a Mandarin Training Center in Taiwan, China, or Hong Kong. The Asian Studies Program also offers a major with a concentration in Chinese Studies.

Contact Information

Curtis Smith, Department Chair
Erika Mendoza, Administrative Support Coordinator
Mariposa Hall 2051
(916) 278-6333



Minor in Chinese

Total units required for Minor: 12 upper division units in Chinese selected with the approval of the Chinese language advisor.

Specific course requirements:

Select International Studies program or upper division units in Chinese9
CHIN 110Advanced Mandarin: Modern Chinese Fiction3
Total Units12

Note: The prerequisite lower division language acquisition will generally be done through coursework, though an equivalency exam is available for those students who feel they may already be at the upper division level.

How to Read Course Descriptions

CHIN 1A.     Elementary Mandarin. 5 Units

Beginning Mandarin with emphasis on listening comprehension, speaking, grammar structure and character writing. The relationship between language and culture will also be emphasized. Includes an introduction to elements of Chinese culture that pertain to language, such as mode of thinking, inter-human relations, and aesthetic expressions.

CHIN 1B.     Elementary Mandarin. 5 Units

Prerequisite(s): CHIN 1A or instructor permission.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Foreign Language Graduation Requirement, Humanities (Area C2)

Continuation of CHIN 1A, with growing emphasis on reading, writing, and listening. Chinese cultural patterns as reflected in the language, such as societal values and views of the world, will continue to be emphasized.

CHIN 2A.     Intermediate Mandarin. 4 Units

Prerequisite(s): CHIN 1B or instructor permission.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

Intermediate Mandarin on the further development of reading, speaking, and writing skills. Emphasis will be placed on the shift from romanized script to Chinese characters. Introduction will also be made to simple prose reading. Meets the Foreign Language Graduation Proficiency Requirement.

CHIN 2B.     Intermediate Mandarin. 4 Units

Prerequisite(s): CHIN 2A or instructor permission.

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Foreign Language Graduation Requirement

Continuation of CHIN 2A designed to further the development of reading, speaking and writing skills at the intermediate to intermediate-high level.

CHIN 110.     Advanced Mandarin: Modern Chinese Fiction. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): CHIN 2B or instructor permission.

Taught exclusively in Mandarin as an introduction to Modern Chinese Fiction through a careful study of representative works from both the People's Republic of China and Taiwan.

CHIN 120.     Chinese Civilization. 3 Units

General Education Area/Graduation Requirement: Humanities (Area C2)

Presentation of formative cultural achievements of China through language and literature with a view to understanding present-day popular Chinese culture. A general survey conducted in English for students who are taking Chinese language courses and others who want a deeper appreciation of this important non-Western culture.

CHIN 130.     Introduction to Classical and Literary Chinese. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): CHIN 2A or equivalent

The classical Chinese language, also known as literary Chinese, is the doorway into the fascinating world of Chinese culture. It has been the primary form of communication for at least three thousand years. Although Classical Chinese uses many of the same characters as modern Mandarin Chinese, the syntax and diction are quite different. In this course, we will study the language through readings in early philosophical, historical, and poetic texts.

CHIN 150.     Survey of Chinese Literature. 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): GWAR Certification before Fall 09, or WPJ score of 70+, or at least a C- in ENGL 109M or ENGL 109W.

Introduction to Chinese literature from classical times to the present. The various forms of Chinese prose, poetry, and novel will be surveyed through the selective reading of representative works (in English translation). Class is conducted in English.

CHIN 195.     Fieldwork-Tutoring. 1 - 3 Units

Prerequisite(s): Advanced level fluency and instructor permission.

Tutoring of lower division students in Mandarin or Cantonese. 3 hours of tutoring per week for each unit. May be taken for credit more than once.

Credit/No Credit

CHIN 199.     Special Problems. 1 - 3 Units

Individual projects or directed reading. Open only to students who appear competent to carry on independent study. Admission requires the approval of the instructor by whom the work is to be supervised.

Credit/No Credit